Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Multiple Meltdown Monday

Mondays are typically difficult for me. I often find the transition from weekend family time to solitary work time challenging. Add a funeral in the family to which my brothers drove together, too far for me to feel comfortable traveling with the drain tubes still in me, yesterday was particularly hard.

Cancer no longer feels like an interesting adventure. It's beginning to feel like what it actually is, a huge imposition on my life.

In spite of the never ending saga of the drains, when I look at the mastectomy site now I'm shocked at how well and quickly I am healing. It's not a wound any more; it's simply a scar. A thin silvery-pink line across the breadth of my rib cage. Looking at it, I'm struck by painful reality: My breast is gone. Forever.

The next wave follows: and I might die. Soon.

On the bright side, "soon" does not mean hit-by-a-truck soon. It means nearly a one in three chance that I won't live to see fifty. Plenty of time to plan for departure, say my good byes, give parting gifts, and burn my most incriminating / embarrassing journals.

But bright sides and jokes aside, I'm really really angry. I do not in any way deserve this. Even if there is something in my past that accounts for this disease, like the few cigarettes I smoked in my late teens and early twenties — which the genetics counselor I saw last week suggested "might have done it," it's still not my fault. Would I have smoked cigarettes if I hadn't been desperately lonely and sad, if I could see my way to a healthier outlet for my emotions? Of course not.

We do what we can to get by, and sometimes getting by is a deceptively difficult proposition.

Speaking of outlets, healthy and otherwise, yesterday I tried the old Eat Another Handful of Peanuts and Watch Another Comedy Video diversion. But eventually my stomach was sick and the comedy was not making me laugh. So I called in the troops. J~ and three others took turns on the phone and in person, listening to me rage about the unfairness of it all and blubber about my gone-forever breast, fear of chemotherapy, and the high unlikelihood that the drains will come out today.

And then I blew my nose and walked the dog, ate a healthy dinner, watched another video and went to bed.

And that, dear friends, is how a person survives another day with cancer.


dillard said...

I'm not sure what else to say other than please keep posting and thank you for sharing your story. It is so very powerful.

Kelly said...

"And that, dear friends, is how a person survives another day with cancer."

Your posts are so powerful. I've only recently found your blog and you're truly inspiring.

Anonymous said...

To the genetics counselor: WTF? How insanely unproductive to even suggest that a few smokes this could have "done it."

Damn straight you're pissed--and you should be. You did *nothing* to deserve this.

Keep posting, keep venting, keep feeling everything. You will get better in spite of and because of what you are allowing yourself to feel right here, right now.

As "they" say, the only way out is through. And girl, you are barreling along.

Anonymous said...

That sucks and I'm sorry.
Thanks for sharing your weaker moments. I like your coping mechanisms.

Shannon said...

Amy, you are grace and strength personified. Be kind to yourself. You have the right to grieve.

Many of us have been here, albeit in very different ways. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows... when it feels all is lost and then recovered, in the shape of something different than we ever expected.

In moments like these, I hope you are surrounded by love and small comforts, like a beautiful puppy licking your face, the warm embrace of a loved one, the crackle of the fireplace on a cold afternoon & the sound of snow crunching beneath your feet.

Thinking of you.

Karen said...

Amy, you are a true inspiration. I admire your honesty about the situation, and I can so much relate to your words... You have every right to feel angry. It is so true that, simply put, life is not fair. Life throws crap at us, and somehow we struggle to make sense of it all. Thank you for sharing.

wendy cahill said...

this post, in particular, spoke to me. not because i have cancer but because even in your worst moments you can inspire and lay bare some simple realizations that we all, universally, feel.
"We do what we can to get by, and sometimes getting by is a deceptively difficult proposition."

I'm thinking of you and sending good vibes from my little universe.
xo wendy